Minnesota Eco Group proves not only new houses can be green

Wayzata Minnesota-based environmental organization Live Green, Live Smart announces The Sustainable House™ received Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council™ (USGBC), for the remodeling of a 1948 rambler, located in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The award is the Council’s highest level certification for residential Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design™ (LEED). This is the first remodeled home to be certified Platinum by the USGBC, the most widely recognized green building standard-setting organization in the country.

The original house and landscape underwent major alterations focused on energy efficiency, water conservation, habitat protection, resource efficiency and healthy occupancy.

Eco-Pioneering Minnesota Group Earns First USGBC Platinum for Green Remodeled Home – businessnewswire.com

ADB to help China fight desert drift

China is getting outside help for a project to stop the alarming spread of deserts in its western interior that causes siltation of the Yellow River, the Asian Development Bank said Saturday.

Manila-based ADB said it will help Beijing design a project to restore the severely degraded drylands of Gansu and Shaanxi provinces, as well as Xinjiang autonomous region, which together cover 40 percent of the country.

“Land degradation is a critical environmental problem in all three project jurisdictions,” an area that once hosted the ancient Silk Road trading route between Asia and Europe, a bank statement said.

AFP: ADB to help China fight desert drift.

I just want to say one word to you: sustainability – SFGate.com

During six years writing about architecture for The Chronicle, I’ve seen trends come and go. Glass is the new stucco. Towers are taller and some of them twist. Celebrity architects spend as much time on self-promotion as serious design.

But here’s the trend that sticks, the one lasting change: Visual drama is no longer enough. Environmental sustainability counts for more than curb appeal.

That’s why San Francisco’s planned Public Utilities Commission building (KMD Architects) is so much a sign of the times. It’s conceived to be a showcase of “green” design, a departure from the bureaucratic norm. But by the time it opens in 2010, I’ll wager that even more adventurous buildings are close behind – because the world has changed, and architecture has to change with it.

read more at SFGate.com – I just want to say one word to you: sustainability. – Author: John King

Yale-Abu Dhabi Research Team Finds Evidence of Ancient Subtropical Environment in the Arid Emirate

New Haven, Conn.— Six to eight million years ago, the Western Region of the Abu Dhabi Emirate was a lush landscape teeming with subtropical wildlife, according to Andrew Hill, the Clayton Stephenson Class of 1954 Professor of Anthropology at Yale.

Before a meeting on January 8 in Abu Dhabi organized by the Abu Dhabi Authority on Culture and Heritage (ADACH) and the Emirates Natural History Group, Hill described the joint ADACH-Yale project leading to the startling discovery that the arid desert of the Emirate’s Western Region was once the river-fed habitat of crocodiles, hippos, turtles and elephants.

Yale-Abu Dhabi Research Team Finds Evidence of Ancient Subtropical Environment in the Arid Emirate pressmediawire.com

Cape Wind project gets a lift from environmental impact report | Rhode Island news | Rhode Island news | projo.com | The Providence Journal

The wind farm proposed by Cape Wind Associates LLC for Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts would have mostly “negligible” or “minor” adverse impacts on the environment, recreation, tourism and property values, according to a major report released yesterday by the federal agency in charge of the project’s permitting process.

The Minerals Management Service, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, released its findings yesterday in a 718-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement that was two years in the making

Cape Wind project gets a lift from environmental impact report | Rhode Island news | Rhode Island news | projo.com | The Providence Journal.

Another museum that’s a work of art – The Boston Globe

All over the country – all over the world, in fact – cities are building new art museums, or enlarging the ones they have.
more stories like this

A surge of new buildings like this, all of a single kind, doesn’t occur very often. What our blizzard of museums reminds you of is the Middle Ages in Western Europe, when every city and town seemed to be erecting a cathedral.

And indeed, it can be argued that the art museum, too, is a place where we gather with our neighbors to engage in something rather like worship. As the philosopher Nietzsche famously said, God is dead, and all we have left is art.

Museums now are like movies or celebrities. There’s a hot new performer every year. The current media darling is the Bloch Building, a new wing of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which is the major art museum in Kansas City. The architect is Steven Holl, of New York, best known in Boston for his amazing, sometimes controversial Simmons Hall dormitory at MIT. The Bloch is amazing too, but it isn’t controversial. It’s been just about everybody’s pick as the best American building of 2007.

Another museum that’s a work of art – The Boston Globe.

China’s cities: faster, bigger, better?

Today Pudong has joined Manhattan and the City of London as one of the world’s foremost business hubs.

Countless other Chinese cities are determined to follow in Shanghai’s steps. Cities have been the engines of China’s economic growth, contributing 70% of its annual gross domestic product. But they are also the stage on which China’s most intense social and environmental struggles are being played out.

The rapid expansion of cities and swelling of urban populations has been the most spectacular feature of China’s rapid economic development over the past two decades. China has become one large construction site: the stock of urban buildings has doubled in a mere five years, reaching almost 15 billion square metres in 2004. In 2005, Shanghai constructed more building space than exists in all the office buildings of New York City. Construction projects in China account for 30% of the global total.

China has become a global laboratory of urban change and an incubator of technological, design and policy innovations. Paradoxically, therefore, China’s urban mayhem has made it the epicentre of global debate on sustainable urbanisation.

Read more at Bangkok Post : Business news. LEO HORN-PHATHANOTHAI

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